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Minnesota youth call for urgent action on climate from new governor

PHOTO BY Aine / Flickr


The student group held a news conference Wednesday asking for new regulations on greenhouse gases and fossil fuels.

A group of high school students Wednesday asked Minnesota’s new governor to pass an executive order to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and propose a plan to reduce the impact of climate change by promoting renewable energy.

A coalition of groups led by the clean change youth organization iMatter and Climate Generation’s Youth Environmental Activists have created an umbrella organization, Minnesota Can’t Wait, that offered lawmakers a 10 point “Green New Deal” platform. The initiative calls for generating all power from renewables, creating a statewide smart grid and ceasing construction of pipelines, including the controversial Line 3 Enbridge project.

The youth organization wants to end investment in any fossil fuel infrastructure and continue to make Minnesota a national green economy model.

The proposal is certain to meet some resistance in a state with a Democratic House and governor but a narrowly divided Republican Senate. Organizers said they remain optimistic because Gov. Tim Walz affirmed his support last year for the group’s regulatory proposal while campaigning. He also allowed the group to use his Capitol office for Wednesday’s news conference and agreed to meet with them.

Students affiliated with iMatter have already succeeded in pressuring city councils in Minnesota to create long-range climate action plans, including in St. Louis Park, St. Paul, Minneapolis, Grand Marais and Eden Prairie. At least 14 iMatter youth groups are active in the state.

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Lia Harel, a senior at Hopkins High School in suburban Minneapolis, said she and several members of Minnesota Can’t Wait met with Walz in September and highlighted their proposal that the pollution control agency regulate carbon emissions. Walz has not shied away from speaking about climate change, mentioning it several times during  his campaign and noting it again last week when introducing his new pollution control agency commissioner, Laura Bishop.

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Rick Engebretson's picture
Rick Engebretson on January 10, 2019

As a long time Minnesota environmental scientist, I'll dare be honest here and perhaps some of these rightly concerned kids will have a new direction to grow.

We live in an area of vital habitat and biodiversity. Clay soil, bitter cold winter. Most kids never do the sweat work while feeding the bugs. Politics today has turned to hateful garbage; not about learning, doing. My fear is the new radical Democrats will attack my "solar biofuels with black dirt" effort. I don't ask for their money, but they know about the concept that nobody on the planet has ever disputed. They want taxes and windmills and solar panels and sainthood, period.

I've had a lot of luck as a scientist. First studying under the inventor of digital electronics, working as a Biophysical Chemist, working at a baby Bell and being (to my knowlege) the first advocate of fiber optic scale-up, using hay crops for biofuel and feed and black dirt, recycled plastic livestock septic tanks. I could list more, but I can't list one single Democrat who was anything but threatening over 40 years!

Today I am peacefully enjoying reading some old Unix-Linux programming books. I belong to the TCLUG, but in reality most of the talent is now also ouside the US. The politics of insults, threats, and taxes is absolutely no substitute for hard work and real science skills.

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